In search of my path – the story of Merely Susan

Date: 01/06/2023

Since 2016, when I became the owner of my own company called Merely Susan, I have been doing many things to find my path. Today, I am at a point where I can say that I know where I’m headed.

I have defined what I want to do and the values and principles I want to adhere to. In this article, I want to tell you about it. You will learn from it how I have developed my business – you will get to know its brief history, as well as how I envision its future.


How I developed my own business – the story of the Merely Susan brand

I can say that starting my own business was a result of my passion for watercolor painting and pattern design, and my main goal was to share my creativity with others.

During the first few years of running my own business, my shop offered art prints of my watercolor and stationery products. I also generated additional income by collaborating with clients in the field of designing patterns and helping in the production of printed fabrics.

Over time, I began offering educational resources for clients who wanted to learn from me. In 2019, I added my first online course on watercolor painting to the shop, as well as an e-book where I showed how to create a pattern design.

In the following years, I ran several editions of my online course, „How to create a pattern design – from scratch” which attracted over 100 participants in total. I also started sharing knowledge on how to grow a creative business.

During this time, I was simultaneously creating my own products and various educational resources while continuing to collaborate with clients, providing design services.

I also focused on building a community around the Merely Susan brand. By the end of 2019, I had thousands of subscribers on my mailing list and many engaged followers on social media.

I must mention that I was doing all this after hours. I started my own business at the age of 17 while still in high school and continued to develop it while studying at the Faculty of Architecture at the Warsaw University of Technology.


In search of my path and simplicity in my own business

It’s no wonder that in 2020, I felt that there was too much happening in my life and I needed to simplify it all. I made the decision to focus on creating my own collections of products that aligned with my aesthetics and values.

I wanted to create timeless pattern designs and more thoughtful and sustainable products that would be sold in my shop for longer than just one season.

For a while, I stepped back from creating new educational products. During the following twelve months, I developed three pattern collections for my own brand.

In the meantime, I searched for fabric manufacturers to collaborate with. I ordered samples to assess the quality of their materials, and on the selected ones I did print tests of my projects.

In 2021, I focused on growing my fabric shop, where I offered digitally printed cotton and linen fabrics featuring my hand-painted pattern designs.

I also created three additional pattern collections and began working on textile prototypes. I gradually reduced the number of pattern design commissions for other companies to prioritize the realization of my own ideas.

I aimed to change the business model that had primarily relied on working with companies to build more personal and meaningful relationships with private customers.

By doing so, I wanted to offer products backed by someone who loves what they do and invests the necessary time to create something truly exceptional.


In search of meaning – defining values and setting principles

In mid-2022, I once again felt the need to make decisions that truly mattered to me and to become more consistent and aligned in creating value for my customers.

I knew that I wanted to focus on bringing my own ideas and projects to life, which meant offering items such as art prints of my paintings, digitally printed fabrics with my designs, and textiles.

I was certain that instead of chasing trends that quickly fade, I wanted to create timeless products with high artistic and craftsmanship value, available in my shop for longer than just one season.

However, I realized that an important part of my work was dedicating time to tell the stories behind the products in Merely Susan shop. I decided to keep a journal to showcase my process and provide my customers with information and inspiration to make choices that would bring them joy for longer.

I pondered for a while whether I wanted to increase product sales and start building a team, considering the pros and cons of various solutions as well as my own needs.

Ultimately, I understood that what I value most in my work is the personal connection with customers. I consciously decided against pursuing wholesale sales to other companies.

I chose to produce on a small scale – as much as Merely Susan customers need and as much as I can sell myself, without aggressive advertising or hiring employees.

I am glad that during the years of developing my own business, I had the opportunity to explore various paths. This allowed me to understand which ones are not right for me and which bring me the most joy and peace on a daily basis.


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